Fall Newsletter

  


The last US presidential election will go down in history as one of the most divisive races in modern history. Elections can be difficult for those whose candidate has lost, but this year's election seems to have left deep wounds. Facing us now, is the difficult task of building bridges and fostering respectful dialogue across political and ideological divides.
 
The tension produced by the presidential campaign may not be going away anytime soon. Vocal opposition to the president-elect has been evident in the protests we've seen in cities across the country. For some, rhetoric from the election has transformed into doomsday scenarios, for others, it is simply a dream realized, that change can be to their benefit.  After such a long and polarizing campaign season, it is now time to heal wounds.  If we do nothing about the divides that exist, they will continue to widen, eating at the very core of what makes us a great nation.  What is becoming ever clearer is the very real need for more people to experience the work that we do at Artsbridge. To that end Artsbridge is planning several workshops in the coming months. If your community would like to come together to engage in healing conversation, please contact at (deb@artsbridgeinstitute.org) to inquire about possible meeting opportunities. We know from experience that the Artsbridge model can bring together people from different communities for constructive conversations, and to reflect on our common path as Americans.


Some of the students at the 2016 Fall Seminar in Haifa
Some of the students and staff at the 2016 Fall Seminar in Haifa.
  The Fall Alumni Seminar
While election day votes were being tallied I was in the middle of a trip to Israel and Palestine to meet with our students from the 2016 summer leadership program for their first follow-up seminar. During our time together we had several conversations about what it was like to return home after completing the intense and challenging Artsbridge program, and how to apply the knowledge and skills they acquired during the summer to their lives back home.  The responses I received from the students were heart-warming.  They spoke about Artsbridge as a transformative experience, about how it changed the way they now think, and how they would like to impact their communities for the better.
 
"Learning to listen to and accept people for who they are even when I might not agree with their worldview", was the response from a young Palestinian student, when asked what she considers the most important idea she took from the program.  Many Israeli participants echoed similar thoughts.  "I came to understand more things about why people have different views, and how culture affects our thoughts. I now understand that, no matter where we come from, we are all connected.  I am more open-minded," another told me.
 
During the seminar the students explored practical ways to improve collaboration, and worked together to develop projects that would benefit their communities.  We also held sessions with parents of the participants. Several parents attended and shared their stories of the notable positive impact the Artsbridge program had on their children, and how transformative our process was for them. At the end of the meeting, parents said "Thank You for Artsbridge and the work that we do". We look forward to the next seminar this winter!


This Thanksgiving

We couldn't do the things we do in Artsbridge without the generous support of our donors. During this Thanksgiving season, as always, we remain ever grateful for your financial support that allows us continue with our important work of bringing greater understanding to conflicted communities, and training our future leaders.  The task of deepening constructive partnerships between people on different sides of communities in conflict has never been more important, especially right now, here, on our own doorsteps.  Your continuing support is a vote of confidence in all Artsbridge stands for.
 
Our year-end fundraising campaign is about to kick off and we shall be contacting you again asking for your support. Your donation is extremely important as it enables immediate resources and underwrites our upcoming efforts to create a more understanding and healthier society for all.  Thank you so much for all you do for us and with us.
 
Wishing you a joyous, healthy, and peaceful holiday season from all of us at Artsbridge, Inc.
 
 
 

978-744-0710
P.O. Box 113, Swampscott, MA 01907